In our own work with schools, we also discovered what we believe to be a number of vital ‘turning points’ associated with high performing schools including, among others, attitudes to innovation, the importance and style of hierarchy, willingness to make sacrifices, position on social justice and beliefs about what different groups of children can achieve. Successful schools in this study feel very dynamic and service-oriented – accountable, flexible, eager to collaborate and intrude on each other’s territory, customer – or stakeholder oriented. They have a hunger for improvement and a desire to be World class.
— The School Culture Project by the Hay Group. Over a 4,000 teachers and 143 schools.

People-Centric or Values-Centric Workplace

Does a leader need to be the smartest person in the organization to achieve growth and customer satisfaction?  No. In fact, being the smartest person in the organization can actually impede growth.

A people-centric organization focuses on the individual and liberating his or her innovative power. This principle is based on a belief that people want to be creative and that an organization must provide them with a setting in which they can express their creativity.

A people-centric culture emphasizes transparency and openness, and therefore also trusts in employees. In its recruitment process, people-centric organizations place a great deal of emphasis on hiring the right people—people who can manage in a challenging environment and where there is a high level of empowerment. Many of the organization's offerings to its employees in the form of education are voluntary, and employees can decide whether to opt in. Each year, the organization removes unnecessary bureaucratic features in order to give each employee more freedom and to facilitate communication and collaboration between colleagues.

Empowered organizations have tremendous competitive advantage because they have tapped into levels of energy and commitment which their competitors usually have difficulty matching.  A recent study of people-centric organizations showed them outperforming the average by 10:1 over a fifteen year period. 

In order to be successful in a volatile world, you must unleash the goodwill and creativity of your people. You must organize your people in a way that will help your people achieve great things without constant supervision from above. Set (Built on Values®) up right, and people will astonish you regularly with their great ideas and ability to take the organization to a higher level.
— Dr. Stephen R. Covey, recognized as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans. Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader In Me — How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time.
A strong culture can help or hurt performance. Culture can account for up to half of the difference in performance between two competing organizations. Shaping a culture is one of the leader’s most important jobs; it can be ignored, but only for so long and at one’s peril.
— James Haskett, Harvard Business School
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self- honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
— Tim Cook, Apple CEO